On Brownstoner.com, a Brooklynite is steamed over the 17 piles of dog poop he encountered while walking down his block yesterday: "It appears that NO ONE cleans up after their dog, leaving it to me - a non-dog owner - to clean up huge piles of mess on an almost every day basis. I am at my wit's end. I called 311 several times to file complaints and asked for the Pooper Scooper signs to post, only to be told they no longer give them out."
Some commenters suggested the problem may be seasonally exaggerated, attributing extra-lax scooping to "the ridiculous snowstorm 'free for all'," in which "for some reason, when it snows, people think that they don't have to pick up after their dogs."
A snowstorm scofflaw offers his or her side of the story: "I am ashamed to say I didn't always follow my pet across ice or into mountains of plowed snow to fish out poops during the bad weather this winter." He explains that the warm poop sunk so fast in the snow "I couldn't dig for it without cutting myself on buried garbage and recycling, or...it was so slippery under the chosen spot I couldn't go get it unless I was willing to hurt myself."
Snow or no snow, the Brownstoners offered some vigilante advice:
- If you ever see the owners with the dogs, ask them if they need a bag to clean up and offer them one. That is a little less confrontational of an approach and lets them know you are watching them.
- I'd make signs & devote a few hours to taking pictures of people in a very obvious way to scare them
- The only thing that works is confronting them. If it continues, follow them home and dump it on their stoop.
- I like to scoop it up and return it to their stoop. After a few "return to sender" poops, they got the message and stopped leaving their crap all over. The downside is that you have to know who is leaving the poop behind. I started working from home a few days a week and it's really helped me stalk my neighbors. Otherwise I'd never know who the offender was.
- Ikea sells plastic bag holders for 2 dollars. Lots of people in my hood put them on polls and neighbors fill them extra bags they have or those plastic bags that newspapers and sales papers come in. It seems to help.
- Confront the people who do it. Bags and signage don't suddenly make self involved people start being courteous. You'll probably be surprised to find that it's not a ton of people who do this, but one or two people.
- Hose down sidewalk and tree well, several bottles of vinegar on sidewalk area with deck brush, then some form of humane commercial repellent, the latter which you should reapply when you take out the trash, at least for a month to break the cycle.
- You could always put a very small sign next to the tree for a few months that says "danger - treated with rat poison that may be fatal to pets" and leave some irresistible dog treats or pieces of hot dog behind it. [The owners] will probably remember this for a long time.
- Write directly to the Commissioner of Sanitation instead of calling 311. His office is actually very conscientious. If you give them the exact location, they will send inspectors over the course of a week to find the scofflaws. I have had some success with this. The office will also let you know the outcome of the surveillance.
One commenter thinks everyone may be barking up the wrong tree: "On our block- we find that most of the mess is from feral cats. They don't listen to reason, yelling or signs, and they can leave surprisingly dog-like masses all about."